New AHRQ Report: Quality of Care and Patient Safety Are Improving, Particularly for Hospital Care, Though Additional Work Remains
The overall quality of health care and patient safety are improving, particularly for hospital care and for measures that are being publicly reported by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, according to the newly released 2014 National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Report from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
Among the highlights in this year’s report:
- Hospital care was safer in 2013 than in 2010, with 17 percent fewer harms to patients and an estimated 1.3 million fewer hospital-acquired conditions, 50,000 fewer deaths, and $12 billion in cost savings over three years (2011, 2012, 2013). However, quality is still far from optimal, with millions of patients harmed by the care they receive, and only 70 percent of recommended care being delivered across a broad array of quality measures.
- A few disparities among racial groups for services such as childhood vaccinations have been reduced to zero; however, much additional work remains to address a broad range of other disparities affecting quality of care.
This year’s report has been consolidated and tracks performance measures that align with the National Quality Strategy. Chartbooks on specific topics such as patient safety and care coordination will be issued in coming months to provide more detailed information and easy-to-understand slides that can be downloaded for presentations.
The report provides a snapshot of health care quality and disparities based on trend analyses from 2000-2002 to 2011-2012 (except for select measures of access to care tracked through the first half of 2014, and for adverse events in hospitals tracked through 2013). Because most data precede implementation of a majority of the health insurance expansions included in the Affordable Care Act, the report serves as a baseline for measuring progress in future years.